After last night’s thrilling escape act in Carolina, the New York Rangers are back home tonight to take on the Anaheim Ducks in a game that might decide who wins the President’s Trophy. The Rangers are two points back of the Ducks with three games in hand, but the Ducks have a bit of a cakewalk of a division at the moment. Both teams are headed to the playoffs –likely as division winners– and both teams might secure home ice throughout their respective conference rounds as well.
The Ducks are an anomaly of a team. I don’t know the stat off hand, but I believe they have just one regulation loss in one-goal games, and maybe ten over the past three seasons. That’s absurd, and there’s no possible way to explain their success in close games. There’s an element of luck to this, but other than that, there’s no logical explanation.
Anaheim made a few moves at the deadline to solidify their blue line and forward depth, adding Simon Despres, James Wisniewski, Tomas Fleischmann, and Jiri Sekac in an active deadline day. Those moves have certainly made the Ducks harder to play against, and their goaltending duo of Frederik Andersen and John Gibson have been serviceable.
What have they done lately?
The Ducks are 7-3-0 in their last ten, with a lot of those games coming against playoff teams like Montreal, Vancouver Calgary (I still can’t believe I’m saying that), Minnesota, and Nashville. The Ducks went 3-3-0 in that span, but then rattled off a pair of wins against Los Angeles and Colorado.
The Ducks are a decent possession team, with a 51.1% USAT/FF. They aren’t the best, but they are certainly formidable when it comes to the puck possession game. They’ve ben trending up lately as well, with a ten game rolling average around 53%.
While the Ducks and Rangers appear to be similar when it comes to puck possession, especially since they are both trending up, the Ducks are a league average team when it comes to SPSV%/PDO. Since this stat is highly goaltender driven, that’s not a surprise. The Rangers have been well above league average all season, while the Ducks have been around 100.
Since SPSV%/PDO is largely goalie driven, we can see why the Rangers are so high in that stat. Cam Talbot has been out of his mind lately, which has raised the Blueshirts rolling ten-game average to above 96%. The Ducks, meanwhile, are dealing with growing pains of John Gibson and relatively decent play of Frederik Andersen. Both are capable, but they aren’t Talbot or Henrik Lundqvist.
Since the Ducks don’t have the SV%, we look at SH% and we see a team that is well above league average, and doing so consistently. The Ducks are an 8.3% shooting team over the season, and while they’ve been trending down lately, haven’t hit the landslide that has hit the Rangers. New York’s season average is 8.5%, but they are regressing to league average in a very short period of time.
These are two very similar teams. Both are riding a higher than average SH%, both are above 50% in possession, but the Rangers have the clear goaltending edge.
Bruce Boudreau’s Ducks employ an aggressive 1-2-2 forecheck. They are not afraid to get the D involved in the rush and will look to fly the zone early if there’s a chance for a break. Once they get a late lead, the Ducks tend to sit back use their 1-2-2 more conservatively. Overall, this is comparable to AV’s system.
They are moderately aggressive when it comes to defensive zone schemes sending a forward to challenge the points while everyone else collapses in the zone and overload the half boards. Their powerplay strategy is a 1-3-1. Their penalty kill formation is generally a diamond force, which sends a player high to challenge the point.
Patrick Maroon-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Kesler-Kyle Palmieri
Tomas Fleischmann-Rickard Rakell-Jiri Sekac
Andrew Cogliano-Nate Thompson-Jakub Silfverberg
PK: Kesler, Silfverberg, Getzlaf, Cogliano, Thompson, Fowler, Despres, Beauchemin, Lindholm
Frederik Andersen gets the start.
PP1: Stepan, Brassard, Kreider, Nash, Yandle
PP2: Miller, Hayes, Zuccarello, Boyle, McDonagh
PK: Stepan, Nash, Girardi, Staal, Moore, Fast, Hunwick, Boyle, Hagelin, Yandle, McDonagh,
Cam Talbot is in net.
Crazy Prediction: Girardi has a multi point game.
Be sure to check out our ticket link if you’re looking for tickets to the game. Game time is 7pm on MSG.